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2015 (Narrative date)

There are an estimated 133,000 people living in modern slavery in Ghana (GSI 2018). Ghana remains a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Ghanaian boys and girls are subjected to forced labor within the country in fishing, domestic service, street hawking, begging, portering, artisanal gold mining, quarrying, herding, and agriculture, including cocoa. Research focused on the fishing industry on Lake Volta indicated that more than half of the children working on and around the lake were born in other communities and many of these children are subjected to forced labor; not allowed to attend school; given inadequate housing and clothing; and are controlled by fishermen through intimidation, violence, and limiting access to food. Boys as young as five years old are forced to work in hazardous conditions, including deep diving, and many suffer waterborne infections. A study of the prevalence of child trafficking in selected communities in the Volta and Central Regions indicated that children from nearly one-third of the 1,621 households surveyed had been subjected to trafficking, primarily in fishing and domestic servitude.
Felicia tells of the kind of work she was forced to do why fishing on Lake Volta in Ghana. She tells of how her employer forces them to work long hours under dangerous conditions. 

After about a week of staying with her, she started to make me [clean] the fish, even the tiniest of them and also smoke them all by myself. After smoking one side of the fish, you have to turn the other side as well and smoke it till it is well done. From about 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., I return to the lake to draw the net or dive to disentangle the net underneath the water. When you dive under the water and are unable to disentangle the net before coming up to the surface of the water, you are hit with the paddle and asked to go back into the water to disentangle the net. I have scars on my skull to show. When we go fishing, we sometimes return at midnight and I have to stay up to clean and smoke all that fish.


Narrative provided by International Justice Mission